A FORMER postmaster, Silas Ndlovu, who embezzled $37 250 belonging to the Post and Telecommunications Corporation, was sentenced yesterday by the Regional Court here to five years’ jail, of which one year was conditionally suspended for five years.
Ndlovu, who pleaded gu!lty, said he spent the money on liquor and gambling.
The prosecutor, Mr Ashley Binns-Ward, said Ndlovu (41) stole the money between February 1977 and July this year while he was postmaster at Mpopoma.
He covered the loss on July 15 by making out a fictitious Reserve Bank deposit slip for $37 250 and filed it to look as though he had banked the money.
Mr Binns-Ward said Government auditors arrived unexpectedly at Mpopoma Post Office on July 23 and found the records in “shambles”.
Ndlovu ran away while auditors were having tea and waiting for a Reserve Bank reply in connection with the false slip, said the prosecutor.
On August 20, Ndlovu went to Mr Lot Senda, his defence counsel, and asked to be handed to police.
In a warned-and-cautioned statement, Ndlovu said he was an alcoholic and had spent the money buying beer and betting on horses and lotteries.
He said: “It has been common for me to spend over $200 a day on my drinking spree. I also held three parties where I spent large sums of money. I backed horses and lotteries and lost more money.”
He had spent some of the money in connection with his football activities. In mitigation Mr Senda appealed to the court to consider Ndlovu’s alcoholic problems when assessing sentence.
The magistrate, Mr I. R. Carlisle, told Ndlovu: “You have apparently misspent it all, in what might be termed classic wastrel fashion, on liquor and gambling.
“Your actions have undermined public confidence in the Post Office as a repository for their cash.”